Blast To The Past

The Gift Exchange in Jamestown is a time portal to the past.

History seeps into The Gift Exchange, from the items it sells to the building itself. The Gift Exchange sits in one of the two remaining hotels from the 1800s on West Eighth Street, said Nancy Hawley, owner of The Gift Exchange.

“I’ve seen the storefront here and it’s been empty for a few years,” she said. “I really wanted to do something to the storefront in the area.”

The Gift Exchange carries primitive gifts, new and repurposed furniture, candles, vintage items, curtains, linens, flickering light and regular canvas pictures, collectables and other items. The store carries a lot of handmade items, which can trace their roots both locally and from places as far as North Carolina.

Hawley opened up the business because she loved primitives in her home and wanted to share that love with other people.

Primitives are very simplistic antique pieces from the early 1900s. Items such as an old warehouse desk from a factory or a used cedar chest have been redone and repurposed are common throughout the store.

“This is an old warehouse cart – I love it,” Hawley said, pointing to a wooden piece in the front part of the store. “There are a lot of rustic pieces. There are a lot of very rustic style (items). That is kind of what primitive is too.”

The Gift Exchange is part of The Coffee Exchange located upstairs, which has been in business since 1972. Dave Hawley, co-owner of The Gift Exchange, has worked at The Coffee Exchange for the past 29 years and is currently a manager. The Gift Exchange works in conjunction with The Coffee Exchange, which is a wholesale retailer which sells coffee products to businesses, and sells gift baskets out of the store.

Nancy Hawley is a Frewsburg native who went to Jamestown Community College and Boyd School, a travel school in Pittsburgh, Pa. She is currently employed with the Transportation Security Administration, a division of Homeland Security. She works at the Jamestown Airport as a security officer.

The Gift Exchange had a soft opening in late March and its grand opening will be Thursday through Saturday, beginning Thursday at 10 a.m. There will be specials, discounts, giveaways and refreshments the entire weekend. Everything in the store is for sale.

“We plan on staying in the community for a while,” Hawley said. “We’re always getting new things in.”

Located at 701 W. Eighth St., The Gift Exchange is open on Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Its phone number is 664-0335.